The Manumalo Baptist Primary School and Kindergarten has defended the holding of the end of year school graduation yesterday, despite the threat of the measles epidemic.
The Ministry of Education Sports and Culture, MESC, called on all schools, public and private, to hold off from having students graduations for health protections.
The Leone village based primary school went ahead with theirs.
School principal, Tasi Epati Ieremia Fata, defended the school decision after all the preparations the parents and the school had put into the children’s graduation.
“We understand the many public notices sent from the Ministry of Health, let alone, the support from MESC, but that is why we decided to make our event smaller,” principal Fata explained.
“Instead of holding our graduation at EFKS Hall at Sogi, that we have already booked in advanced, as soon as we got the health announcements, we decided to just hold a small event inside our own compound.”
The graduation was held inside two classrooms at the second storey school building where parents gathered.
Fata said that attending the graduation was also optional for parents.
“We made it clear to the parents that if anyone doesn’t want to attend, then that is fine. If a parent wishes to participate and attend with their child that is also fine with us.”
The graduation had to happen according to Fata they had put much into the preparations.
“We were not against the advisory notice but we realized that we had to weigh it up against how much we have put into our preparations already.
“Parents paid a lot for their kids’ uniforms, the caps and tussles and gowns as well as collars all from the States (USA).
“We prepared ahead of time. In our office, we have almost 60 trophies so seeing that this year performances by kids will not be recognized, it really made us struggled with what to do.
“ We felt for the parents and all they have done so when we received the advice from the Ministry, we decided we didn’t want to go big on our graduation but just to hold a mini ceremony. We cancelled our booking for EFKS Hall.”
Fata said that there were parents who didn’t want to join the celebration yesterday and their kids were not part of the graduation. Close to 100 kids were supposed to graduate from K-5 Preschool and only 83 showed up with their graduation uniforms.
Fata told Newsline Samoa that at least 2 students from her school contracted measles since the epidemic started.
A series of advisories since the outbreak of measles in Samoa from the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture this month clearly states that schools should not proceed with graduations.
The Acting CEO, Tauti Faatamalii Jenny Lauano on Monday reemphasized the need for all schools to stop.
A Cabinet directive emphasized the need for all schools to stop all prize givings, graduation ceremonies and certificate awards as well as school camps.